Archive for the 'modern horror' Category

Feb

posted by admin | February 6, 2014 | Fantasy, Horror movies, modern horror, Reviews by the Goon, screeners

Comments Off on She-Wolf of the Woods

She-Wolf of the Woods
2013 – Not Rated – Stay Curious Productions

Women, am I right? If they aren’t trying to break your heart, they’re trying to eat it, because they transform into supernatural beasts at night. Seems like it’s always the case, especially in Scotland. Just what in Sam-hell is going on over there? And who is Sam? Grab a pint and let’s find out.

This story takes place in the Dalavich Village of Scotland, to be exact. After a very cool transition shot of the moon fading into a light bulb, a young woman named Amy has just finished a shower (sorry fellas, no nudity here) and is hungry for a snack, removing a severed hand from the fridge, making for one of the few gore scenes in the film. It cuts to the title credits before we see what she does with it, so whether it was baked or pan fried in a sauce, we will never know.

As the not fitting, but somehow fitting funky, almost soft-core 70’s porn music continues, Amy meanders in the woods drinking some whiskey and kicking a soccer ball in a child’s face (I have to ask, does it make me a bad person if I unintentionally laughed at that?). After ditching some evidence, burning what is most likely the clothes of whoever that hand belonged to, she finishes up her drinking to continue drinking at the local tavern. While there, she takes her time scanning the male population there, which are oogling at her so intensely, you could replace them all with cartoon wolves, howling with their tongues and eyes popping out of their heads. She settles on a man in a trucker hat, camo jacket and a handlebar mustache, everything that embodies the stereotypical beer guzzling M-A-N and takes him home. Once her door closes, it goes to black, leaving to our imaginations his fate, which probably isn’t good for him or his mustache.sww_3

The following morning at her day job, which is a Forest Ranger (makes sense when you think about the title of the movie), we are introduced to Ben, who looks like he has raided Roddy Piper’s wardrobe (kilt and all). He exchanges glances with Amy and begins asking questions to a man sitting next to him with an acoustic guitar about her in the most unconvincing southern accent. The man warns Ben not to get involved with her, but do you think he’ll listen? Like most people in this movie, Ben spends a good amount of his time drinking at the tavern, where he and Amy talk about his past. His family having died and all, he sure is making a perfect candidate to bring home…

Once they are at Amy’s, you could say Ben certainly gets more than what he bargained for… two for the price of one! A blonde seductress named Lucille joins in on the fun, as the two put on a show for him. Lucille takes him upstairs where things get a little… hairy…

She-Wolf of the Woods is a short film, running just a little over half an hour and in that time frame, it tells a familiar fable modestly. However, I can’t help but have wanted the film to explore the characters of Amy and Lucille a bit more, bringing them into the light and rounding out their characters. A little more back story would have really brought them to life and fleshed them out some. Although they do give Lucille exposition in the final scene (I won’t spoil it), you can’t help but to want the movie to continue to see how the rest of the film could have played out. Also, for a low budget short film, it has some of the most remarkable and beautiful lighting and cinematography I have seen in some time. It sets up and further enhances the atmosphere of the scene, feeling like a mix of comic book and modern gothic horror at times.

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She-Wolf of the Woods
Whereas gorehounds may find it to be underwhelming, fans of Lycan mythology will find their appetites pleased and wanting more. So who knows, maybe we will see more? I guess we’ll find out on a full moon.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • She needed a hand.
  • Drinking Game: Every time a character drinks, take a drink.
  • Mustache ride.
  • Roddy Piper stunt double.
  • The sex can get a little “hairy”..
totals

3

blood  

BLOOD

Nothing you really need a rain coat for.

8

blood  

BREASTS

The movie fills out well in this category.

 

7

beast  

BEASTS

 

The big bad and her companion have quite the appetite.

6 OVERALL
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Jan

Comments Off on Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher

Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher
2012 – Not Rated – Sledgehammer Films

Gather ’round these here parts and mosey on up to the campfire to hear the legend! There’s something people don’t seem to do anymore; tell ghastly stories and fabled legends around a burning campfire, trying to scare the mud out of each other’s britches. With how constantly connected we are now, the equivalent to camping would be watching a movie on your iPad, sitting around a campfire Blu-ray from your couch. But enough of about my unbridled hatred for the 21st century and all your precious modern technology; let’s be reminded of a more simple time, when chilling stories were told and hear the tale of a time when people were proud to live off the land, provide for themselves with what the Earth gives them and forage for their own food… even if it’s trespassers! Let’s hear the tale of Carl Henry Jessup… Let’s hear The Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher!

lothb_2The set up makes it appear to be a cut and paste slasher, but I assure you, Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher is anything but. It’s easy to get that impression from the start, as an old man tells three wide eyed children this probably not so age appropriate spooky tale about a butcher and his meat, long pig (would you like to take a guess as to what that could be?). This scene reminds me of the opening to Madman, which is a good thing. When Carl isn’t stating is political propaganda or scaring local whippersnappers off of his property (which you do not want to trespass on), he’s passing the time by cooking his meat (no, that’s not an innuendo) with his half-sister, Rae Lynn (Theresa Holly here does a stellar job), or taking swigs of moonshine out of the jug with his friend Billy Wayne, who’s about as trust worthy as he appears to be. This guy seems like he’s just one strangled hooker away from making the FBI’s Most Wanted list. Yup, Carl sure knows how to live.

lothb_3Of course, his life isn’t all gravy. Speaking of gravy, he sure does miss his Pop’s gravy (again, not an innuendo) ever since he killed his wife then himself back when Carl was a boy, passing on his butcher knife. Rae Lynn does her best to fill in the lonely void by cooking and cleaning, but it’s just not enough. Haunting visions of a demon (called Sam Bakoo, but I can’t recall if this if ever mentioned) in his sleep wake Carl up that not even his decaying, skeletal girlfriends can help him get back to sleep. He decides to take drastic measures to bring back his parents by offering his blood and soul to the Devil, but that soul ain’t worth no damn. What is a man with a worthless soul to do?

Well, killing trespassers is one thing. It doesn’t matter if it’s stabbing young lovers or disemboweling the director dressed up as a drunk hick, they have no right being on his property! And besides, a man’s gotta eat. Each victim meets (or should I say “meats”) their end by Carl’s knife, as he guts them and cuts them up for meat and stringing it up from the ceiling in the basement, which his darling half-sister Rae Lynn cooks for them and Billy Wayne on occasion. Speaking of Billy Wayne, he is one available bachelor if you can believe it. He takes an interest in Rae Lynn and even asks her out on a date ever so elegantly. After one of the most sexiest montages I have ever seen of Rae Lynn trying on different dresses, they spend some time… somewhere in the woods (it doesn’t have to be specific), but the date quickly goes sour after Billy Wayne sucker punches poor Rae Lynn. But hey, she shouldn’t tease a man like that!

lothb_4While this is going on, Carl is seeing the ghost of an unknown young girl, Jesse, who tells him that his blood line is cursed and urges him to bury the knife. Could she mean that literally or is this one of them metaphors? Carl looks at this as a second chance and possibly a way to stop these haunting visions that look like they are out of a goth band’s music video. If I thought I was constantly envisioning Prodigy music videos, I would do anything to make them go away too. It’s also at about this time Rae Lynn stumbles across all Leatherface like decorations in the house, asking the burning question… how did it take her so long to see any of this?

Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher reeks of 70’s and 80’s exploitation drive-in films and it smells wonderful. It has that certain atmosphere of dread in the wilderness, secluded in the open, yet there is a false state of serenity as you here the nearby creek babble and the insect population sings like a choir. The sometimes out of focus, fuzzy look, complete with dirt and scratches over the film gives it an aged look without making it too faux. However, there were times when I found the filters to be overbearing. For example, on occasion, there will be an orange burn mark in the upper left corner of the screen, varying in intensity, but at times it seems to be too intense and going on a bit too long (this never took away from my enjoyment of the movie though), which I did find to be a tiny bit distracting. Even the audio sometimes has a muffled sound to it at times. It’s these elements that remind me of films like Don’t Go in the Woods and The Forest. There’s a reason this won six awards, some from a genre new to me, Hixploitation and the enchanting actress Theresa Holly gets a well deserved award for Best Actress and I would even call her the Independent Movie Scream Queen.

Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher
Best Retrosploiation Film? You betcha! It’s been awhile since we’ve seen something like this (or at least done well) and it’s welcoming to be reminded of cult camp movies that remind you of warm summer nights with possible terror lurking somewhere in the woods. Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher is an alluring, gory bio pic. Joaquin Montalvan certainly is a man who can do it all; writing, producing, directing and even doing the cinematography. This man is the reason this movie looks so damn good, so credit where credit is due. Of course, the rest of the cast and crew is great as well. This is one of the most engrossing independent films I have scene in a long time, so I would highly recommend giving this a watch, ya hear?

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Ghost stories ’round the campfire.
  • Swigging out of moonshine jugs.
  • Like father, like son.
  • A lover’s spat.
  • Sandwich wrapped fresh demon.
  • Ask a restaurant if they serve ‘long pig’.
totals

8

blood

BLOOD

You get that there pretty red stuff and sum guts slopping ’round.

6

blood

BREASTS

Theresa Holly’s montage is something for the guys to oogle at, while Billy Wayne competes by walking around with his shirt unbuttoned most of the time.

9

beast

BEASTS

I would not recommend trespassing on the Jessup’s place!

7.6 OVERALL
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Oct

Comments Off on Maniac (2012)

Maniac
2012 – Not Rated – IFC Midnight

Remakes are a very fickle subject. Films that are often being remade, are those that are regarded as high ‘cult’ status and have a large and not to mention intense fan base. So, it goes without saying that when rumors were rumbling that William Lustig’s serial killer masterpiece Maniac was being fitted for a remake, it would be critically disapproved before it was even made. This disapproval seemed to settle into gentle curiosity when High Tension director Alexander Aja was attached and shortly after the casting of Elijah Wood in the role of Frank Zito, not only were we curious, but they had our attention as well. Sure enough, we were watching the production of this film under a microscope and growing more interested with every shred of news.

It’s also tricky reviewing a remake. It will, of course, be compared to the original, which in most cases, is far superior (if not only for nostalgic reasons). But you have to remember to look at it as its own entity and judge it based on its own merit. After all, do you really want to see the same thing rehashed exactly the same way (remember the Psycho remake)? Like I said, it’s very challenging to remake and modernize a horror film, so how does Franck Khalfoun’s rendition of the classic hold up?

It starts off similar enough, with Frank stalking his prey. Only this time a young woman decides to walk home from a night club all by herself, unaware that Frank is watching her (as we watch from his POV) from his truck. After one of the best opening music soundtracks in this generation, Frank meets her at her apartment, unbeknownst to her though. He cuts the power, darkening the corridor and walks behind her, breathing heavily until she is about to enter her apartment. Hesitant to turn around, he tells her, “Please don’t scream,” and before she can, he plunges a giant Bowie knife under her chin. Gently he caresses her face and removes the knife to scalp her and then in big, bold, confident and alarming red letters as big as the screen, the title MANIAC appears before fading to black. Right out of the gates, the movie doesn’t hold back any punches and doesn’t shy away from disturbing you.

maniac_2As Frank wakes up and goes about his daily routine, makes coffee, hallucinates that a girl is in his bed (you know, the usual stuff), you may be noticing that it hasn’t switched out of his POV and that is what not only separates this remake from the original, but from pretty much every other film out there. Keeping in theme with the original, Frank staples the scalp to a mannequin while talking with it. So just in case you weren’t sure he was a few cans short of a six pack, this should tip you off. Continuing, we get a look into how this movie is ‘modernized’ as Frank stalks and sets up potential kills via dating websites. It actually makes good sense and clearly illustrates every single person’s worst fear, but now it’s going to make it harder for me to score a date… especially when we watch this!

A quick online dating success later, he meets up with a cute little trollop named Lucy. It’s during this dinner that we get a look into Frank’s psyche, as the radial blur filters the screen, he sees everyone in the restaurant staring at him and blood trickles down Lucy’s face. It’s never explained exactly what this condition is, though he calls them migraines. They seem to quickly reside after he pops a few pills. Unfortunately, they effects don’t last long. Lucy invites him over for a drink and he insists that he needs to leave, but nervous guys that she can domineer are her thing. She dances around her apartment to ‘Goodbye Horses’, made popular in Silence of the Lambs and forever stapling it to all things creepy. Overcome with homicidal tendencies, he strangles her and scalps her, thus acquiring a new girlfriend (in his mind), after he staples the scalp on a mannequin, of course.

It’s interesting to note that this kill is somewhat different from the others in the film, in that he is hesitant to kill her and almost seemingly resists. He even throws up afterwards and weeps, possibly indicating that he was beginning to like Lucy and did not want to kill her. It adds a whole new dimension to the character and not just a showing the typical ‘kill the women mindlessly’ slasher trend. But now I’m getting off track.

maniac_3This is when we are introduced to the lovely Anna, who will become the love interest of sorts to Frank. She wakes him the next morning by taking photos of his mannequins outside his shop window. Feeling a desirable, artistic connection, he invites her inside to look at his work. When he isn’t doing the Apache scalp to women, Frank restores antique mannequins out of a shop he inherited from his mother, who recently died. The two bond and create a friendship, perhaps with an unspoken romance and you can really see it in their eyes. More specifically her eyes, as the actress, Nora Arnezeder, has to stare into the camera as if she is looking deeply and affectionately into Frank’s eyes and she does this convincingly well. You’ll fall in love with her as she looks past the camera and into your eyes, piercing your soul. But how long can Frank subdue his murderous impulses?

As the two spend more time together, it’s noticeable (to the audience) that Frank is falling for Anna. It’s actually quite charming to see him become smitten by her. Maybe it’s the way she looks at us, the audience, that we are falling in love with her! The very mention that she has a boyfriend gives him a “migraine” like before with Lucy. He goes out of his way to take non prescription pharmaceuticals to control these sinister urges, but unfortunately like all classic monster movies, the beast has to come out. He follows a girl home from a dance studio, chases her through a subway and into a parking lot where perhaps the most daunting and brutal murder of the film takes place, as hides under a car, slicing her Achilles tendon as she walks by and stabbing her repeatedly in the back until finally scalping her and posing by a car, so that his reflection resembles the original movie poster. It’s actually a clever nod, seeing as how we don’t get the infamous bathroom or shotgun scenes.

Having borrowed some of Frank’s mannequins for an art show, Anna invites him to said show where everyone seems to be judgmental of the two, but they are lost in each other’s creativity, as Frank and Anna speak, you really get a sense of the tragedy that they most likely will not end up together. At this point, it’s really debatable if this is a love story or not. You want nothing more than for her to save him from all his troubles. You want Frank to tell Anna that he loves her and maybe that’s the true horror of this film and not the murders; that Frank and Anna will never be together. And as if seeing Anna with her beau wasn’t enough to crush his spirits, he’s ridiculed by him for potentially being a closet homosexual (jocks at an art show… this IS fiction) and then by Anna’s manager. Frank follows her home and in a rather disturbing scene, Frank watches her bathe for a moment, just before dunking her head underwater. He then begins yelling at her as if he were yelling at his mother for the terrible things she did and then scalping her. It’s in this scene where you think maybe Frank doesn’t believe that he is killing anyone, but helping them to live on forever.

maniac_4After receiving the news that her manager is dead, Anna calls up Frank who is more than happy to console her. However, Frank lets a few things slip as you watch Anna’s facial expressions change from sad, to quizzical, to horrified as she realizes Frank is a killer. Realizing she is in terrible danger, she now fights off the psychotic Frank, who tells her he wants nothing more than to help her and take her away, all leading to a very dark, but unfortunately for Frank, fitting end.

In a word, Maniac is intense. Although it contains the same elements and ideas of the original, it feels like a completely different beast. But that’s how a remake should feel. For starters, the entire movie is shot from Frank’s POV, with a few exceptions where the camera will come out from his eyes and we see him committing horrendous acts of violence, which is incredibly effective as you see the murder through the killer’s eyes, then transition to be an audience to it. Frank himself is quite different, being an unassuming, charming young man rather than the chubby, greasy (no offense) counterpart and Elijah Wood plays this role eerily convincing. It’s seriously my favorite portrayal of a character in a long time. Elijah Wood ‘kills’ it! We also go into his childhood quite a bit and examine his mother issues, which there aren’t that many. So it feels like the film could do without these scenes and still work, but the way they are shown is pretty traumatizing. Especially when you see little Frank’s mother getting gang banged as he watches from the closet… and she knows he’s in there. Ah, brings back memories.

As I said before, the entire cinematography is from the point of view of Frank. We are looking through his eyes, which you would think could get nauseating or even be distracting, but the shots are smooth and don’t bob around so much like it would with a free hand found footage type of movie. This also makes viewing it ghastly, like you are a part of this macabre destruction and gore. Speaking of gore, Maniac may not contain the famous head explosion like the original, but it has more than enough repulsive violence and bloodshed to go around! A majority of the effects are practical (or a combination of composite shots) and seeing Frank use his buck knife or straight razor to remove his victims scalps, then slowly pull them off may require you to prepare barf bags before viewing. And to further shake your core, the score by Rob is a simple one, reminiscent of John Carpenter, with an easy synth beat and heavy stings, but always fitting the mood of the movie.

Maniac
While it does take the idea of the original and stays true to the classic, it does take its own path while it tells its own story. I guess you could call it an ‘updated version’ (and by that I don’t mean they use computers and cell phones… although they do). Maniac is most definitely a modern day horror film that will eventually become a classic on its own merit, rather than lurking in the shadow of William Lustig’s original 1980 shocker. In fact, this may very well spawn clones of POV serial killer movies, which will soon become annoying, just like all found footage and possession movies. Check out Maniac, alone or on a date… but not with anyone you met on a dating website.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Frank the Apache.
  • Mannequin makeover.
  • Goodbye horses… goodbye, Lucy!
  • Strangers on a subway.
  • Maniac Migraine.
  • If you have a mommy issue, reach for a tissue.
  • Grand Theft Anna.
  • Frank spills his guts.
totals

9

blood

BLOOD

Blood and guts galore with plenty of scalping.

8

blood

BREASTS

All kinds and all sizes for the kiddies!

10

beast

BEASTS

Although a bit more sympathetic, Elijah Wood ‘kills’ it as Frank. He pulls off totally unassuming and totally bonkers.

9 OVERALL
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Sep

Comments Off on V/H/S/2

V/H/S/2
2013 – Unrated/R – Magnet

You either loved it or you hated it, but there’s no denying that last year’s V/H/S gave a fresh spin on the quickly tiring found footage genre. It gave it a primo, and mostly perverse, look and took the idea of the anthology and made it seem newfangled, like it was in the 80’s. It was a very pleasing mix of perversion, violence and short storytelling. So it would make sense that they would decide to do a sequel the following year, with bigger filmmakers names attached to the project. Now the burning question is, does it surpass its predecessor?

It opens up familiar enough, in POV, of a man (played Simon Barrett, baring his dong… ladies) cheating on his wife. This leads nowhere, mind you, but sets up our two leads who are private investigators, Larry and Ayesha in the bookend segment, Tape 49. We soon learn they have been hired by some woman to find her missing son, break into his apartment and root around for clues. The two person Mystery Inc. wastes no time as they reach their destination. They immediately hear a loud bang and pry open a window, shortly discovering a room littered with televisions and VHS tapes, a welcoming site to those who enjoyed the first film, no doubt. Larry decides to “Go and check” out the rest of the place, rummaging through notebooks (and oddly reminding me of the PS1 classic Resident Evil), leaving Ayesha to watch the tapes. And what could be one those tapes? Well, it’s not Veggie Tales.

vhs2_2The first segment, entitled Phase I Clinical Trials, stars You’re Next director Adam Wingard. He also directed this segment, a clever way of keeping the budget low. His character was in a car accident and receives an experimental robotic eye of sorts that would make the Six Million Dollar Man weep. The eye can record what it sees, so the company that built it can analyze the data (imagine the poor sap that has to sit through hours of footage of him playing video games or pooping). Soon, he begins seeing dead people around his house. A girl from the hospital tracks him down and reveals that she had a cochlear implant from the same company and could hear dead people. Between the two of them, Haley Joel Osment is a punk. The more they interact with the spirits, the more the spirits can appear and harm them… clearly, not heading toward a happy ending.

vhs2_3Next up is A Ride in the Park, which sounds innocent enough, but boy would you be wrong. A man named Mike is all set for a joyous bike ride in the park, hence the title, with his GoPro camera, when he comes across a woman who has been bitten by a pack of zombies. Mike is bitten on the neck and bleeds to death after fleeing. Shortly, another couple finds him and wouldn’t you know it, Mike turns and bites them. Soon, zombies are tearing through a youngster’s birthday party. Still beats having your dad drunkenly tell you how disappointed he is in you. Now, most of you know my stance on the current zombie pop culture trend: Their boring, uninspiring and just clones of the previous popular zombie flick, but The Blair Witch director Eduardo Sanchez along with Jamie Nash give it a spin that hasn’t been seen since possibly Day of the Dead. Their zombies retain some knowledge of a previous life, as Mike demonstrates throughout the segment and the ending is rather bittersweet after he gets a call from his wife.

Safe Haven, from the director of The Raid, is most likely the most disturbing of the bunch. Using the angle of a documentary crew, they are invited to interview the leader of a cult and learn more about their faith. It just so happens to be at the time when the cult commits a mass suicide and sacrificing one of the documentary’s crew member’s unborn child to spawn their God, which is more like Satan. I don’t know what that says, but this is the one that really brings the punch. The imagery is savage and with the leader of the cult dancing and singing wearing nothing but tighty whities, self mutilated, you’ll think twice about entering a place far from civilization. The ending is hiliarious, but also will give you willies.

vhs2_4 Last, but not least, we have Hobo With a Shotgun director Jason Eisener’s Slumber Party Alien Abduction. Of all the segments, this one is by far my favorite. It’s a group of teenagers building cardboard box robot costumes, something I’m sure we all did. No? Just me? They play cruel pranks on one their sisters and each other, all being filmed by a GoPro strapped to their dog. Just when things are getting tense between the two groups of adolescents, a thunderous boom and bright lights shock them. The power goes out and aliens are trying to get into the house, brilliantly lit with a strobe light and this is when you start getting scared… real fast. The aliens drag them outside and throw them into the lake and only a few make it out, fleeing for the remainder of the segment as they hide from the intruders, nearly being caught at every turn. This one will have you clutching your chest and calling for Elizabeth.

Finally, the movie closes on Tape 49 once our lead watches on a tape what exactly that loud bang was on a tape. After seeing what he saw, he’ll probably wish he had been watching hours of Kathy Griffin stand up.

Something you may have noticed about V/H/S/2 is it seems to be more constructed like a movie, using multiple cameras and different angles, but still using different forms of consumer style cameras to give that found footage feel. For the most part, the acting is a lot more solid, but it makes it feel less like home movies and more like… ahem, a movie. But it’s the way that the stories are constructed that makes it a solid anthology. Regardless of having a slightly more cinematic feel to it, V/H/S/2 is strong and relentless from start to finish. Unlike the previous entry, there isn’t a dull ho hum tale of the group.

V/H/S/2

V/H/S/2 is certainly on par, if not superior to V/H/S and a worthy successor. Here’s to looking forward to the third entry! Pick up your copy at Magnet’s website and for god’s sake, don’t break into a stranger’s house and start watching stacks of tapes! One of them could be a Bill Rebane film.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Start your movie with a little bit o’ donger.
  • Eye see dead people.
  • Happy ‘Death’day!
  • Singing in undies.
  • Papa of a demon.
  • Alien disco party.
  • Explosive migraine.
totals

10

blood

BLOOD

Every segment is covered in all kinds of guts, organs and plasma!

7

blood

BREASTS

It’s a requirement of each segment to bare some ta-ta’s.

10

beast

BEASTS

Ghosts, ghouls, zombies, devil and aliens. The only thing it’s missing is Santa.

9 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer for V/H/S/2!”

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Aug

Comments Off on Profile of a Killer

Profile of a Killer

We’re all guilty of going great lengths to get attention and who came blame us? With all this social media, it’s hard to get anyone’s attention, unless your most inopportune moment happens to be captured and put on YouTube. But unless you want to become the latest meme, how far would you go? I remember I once pretended to run away from home, thinking my mom would come looking for me. Probably should have ran further than my backyard.

Take young David here, for example. It’s Christmas time and he’s becoming Minnesota’s next serial killer, leaving a trail of decomposing skeletons across Route 61, earning himself the nickname “61 Killer.” It’s a good thing he didn’t leave the bodies along Route 69! And all of the things Minnesota is known for, besides Kirby Puckett and the invention of Scotch Tape, it has to be bizarre serial killers. Anyway, with local police baffled, they call for the help of retired FBI Profiler, Saul Aitken, who kinda looks like Robert DeNiro in some scenes. Saul meets up with Special Agent Cade, who seems like a more confident or veteran Clarice Starling. She comes off as cold and emotionless, but still pretty cute. Together, they go over the details of the case, examining the bodies, one of which is missing an arm, attempting to connect all the clues together, but this may be harder than it seems, since both profiles they have come up with so far are opposing ideas.

Later at his hotel that night, Saul gets a special delivery… the missing arm from one of the bodies! Shouldn’t have ordered the mystery meat. Saul rushes to his door to chase after the delivery man, but in a surprising turn against cliches, the killer is still at the door and kidnaps Saul at gunpoint. I almost thought we were going to have a moment similar to Seven there for a moment.

poak_2Saul wakens in a bathtub, cuffed by the ankles and hands like a prisoner, but not shackled down to anything (don’t worry, this isn’t another Saw style movie). He gets up and moves around the sullied, broken down home and finds young David cooking them breakfast. After a tour of his humble abode, David tells Saul that he’s been ‘fishing’ for a profiler, to tell him exactly who he is, how he thinks, why he kills. So he wants to be… profiled. And this is the great length he will go to get his attention, but the police and FBI aren’t giving in to it.

The remainder of the movie is what the internet is calling a ‘cat and mouse’ game. But whenever I hear that, I think of Tom and Jerry chasing each other dressed as Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper. Don’t ask. But for a lack of a better description, we’ll go along with calling it that. Reminding me of Hard Candy, the favorable odds seem to shift back and forth between Saul and David periodically and rather quickly. Just when you think Saul is breaking through David’s psyche, making progress, David will throw him a figurative curve ball that makes Saul not only question the methods and the fragile mind of David, but maybe some of his own life decisions.

David turns all of this into a game. Saul must ask the right questions, make an accurate profile of David if he is to prevent him from killing again. No matter what David does, the authorities won’t give him any media attention (if only we would do the same with Lady Gaga), so he decides to focus his attention on the police, targeting Special Agent Cade. Now things are becoming personal for Saul and the police are closing in on their whereabouts as the game comes to conclusion.

poak_3Profile of a Killer isn’t about showcasing visceral, over the top and gory deaths, but instead is a cerebral film, pitting two minds of opposing sides of criminology against each other. I found myself at the edge of my uncomfortable futon guessing in anticipation as to what might happen next. Most of the time, I was wrong. Films like this tend to fall into their own cliches, making them predictable and stale, but this movie doesn’t go in the other direction; it goes in a different direction altogether. It’s a familiar feeling that seems to be turned on its side. You’ll be surprised.

At times, it can feel like the movie is dragging on (run time is about two hours), however it’s for a good reason: They are taking their time and developing character and I have to say this is the film’s strongest point. You feel sympathetic and confused for David (after all, we are all lost in this world over saturated with social media), you can feel the frustration and sadness of Saul. Even the minor characters, you feel like you know them because we actually spend the right time with them and the progression the character goes through.

You can check out Profile of a Killer on Demand now and if the delivery man happens to bring you a package while watching it, make sure it’s something you’re expecting.

roadside attractions

  • Meatless skeletons.
  • Special Agent Cade: Dana Scully or Clarice Starling?
  • Saul, Robert DeNiro stunt double.
  • I cut off the Sheriff’s face, but I did not cut off the face of the deputy.
  • Spam Christmas dinner.
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

A little bit, but lots of gruesome skeletons.

4

blood

BREASTS

They always seem to be under several layers of coats. Cade keeps them wrapped up pretty tight… except for that one scene…

8

beast

BEASTS

The minds of Saul and David are quite beastly. And Cade kicks some arse.

6.3 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the official trailer!”

trailers

dripper

About the Highway

Lost Highway is your satirical detour down the twisted back roads of b-movies and cult films reviews. learn more >>